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June 1, 2023 55 mins

In this illuminating episode, Executive Producer Betsy Beers and Choreographer Jack Murphy take us behind the scenes of "Queen Charlotte A Bridgerton Story" to explore the intricacies of Shonda Rhimes' writing, the importance of movement in storytelling, and the heroic efforts that make this series an ode to women who remain the three-dimensional stars of their stories regardless of age.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Queen Charlotte the Official Podcast is a production of Shondaland
Audio in partnership with iHeartRadio. Hey, welcome back to Queen
Charlotte the Official Podcast, where we delve into the world

of Queen Charlotte and explore its intriguing characters. I'm your host,
Gabby Collins, and on this episode, we've got some special
interviews lined up for you. Joining us is none other
than the esteemed executive producer of Queen Charlotte, Betsy Bears.
She has delivered episodes upon episodes of people finding their persons,

and she's helped to transform Thursday Nights in our recent history, y'all.
And she does everything but drive a bus. Later on,
we're getting up close and personal with our dear friend,
choreographer Jack Murphy episode three of Queen Charlotte's when we
get to the Danberry Ball, and y'all know how I
feel about the Danburry, So okay, we're going to do that.

We're getting into the Danburry Ball during our check in
with Betsy. We're going to explore the complex relationships of
Queen Charlotte, Lady Danburry, and Dowager Vicouncist Bridgerton and how
these three dimensional characters defy the gravity of agism. We're
going to dive into the way Queen Charlotte of Bridgerton
story contributes to a broader cultural shift in embracing the expensive, triumphant,

messy stories of women who have lived. So let's get
into the first part of our conversation with Betsy, who
has been instrumental in how Queen Charlotte came to fruition.
Betsy Beers, thank you for joining us today. We are
really really excited to talk about Queen Charlotte with you. Great.

Speaker 2 (01:50):
I'm always excited to talk about Queen Charlotte.

Speaker 1 (01:52):
I mean, who wouldn't be right, who wouldn't be And
it feels like a lot of people are.

Speaker 3 (01:58):

Speaker 1 (01:59):
I mean you look at what people say after you
put out a baby into the world.

Speaker 2 (02:04):
I am not somebody who absorbs a lot of that stuff.
I will read sometimes, you know, reviews, because I'm curious,
but I don't really take that much to heart. And
I'm not a because I'm not a social media person.
We always start from the place like I'm just incredibly
proud of it. I'm proud of everything that Shanda did
with this and every single person who worked on it.

So it always goes back to the same sentence, which is,
if I love it, I really hope other people love it,
but nobody can take away from me that I love it.

Speaker 1 (02:36):
You know, the saying you know your rapper's favorite rapper.
I feel like you are a producer. You are a
producer's producer. Like so to hear you say that is
very That's that's pretty awesome. I don't know what to
call it, but to know that you can put something
out and it's out there, you know it's out there.
It is what it is, and Queen Charlotte is a

big wow. Though, where does your storel start with working
on Queen Charlotte?

Speaker 2 (03:02):
Okay, so my story is very similar to Shanda's story
because Shonda repeated to her story to me as soon
as it happened, So I would say that our stories
were in tandem. Because Shanda had the conversation with Ted
regarding his sadly late mother in law who had suggested
to him that, you know, you should just do a
story about Queen Charlotte because she's so interesting and what

an incredible idea, And I just thought it was terrific
and very early on because like who doesn't love Queen Charlotte?
And a lot of this has to do with you
just do I mean, the lady's a baller, she's a
total Yeah. Just she owns what she owns, she says
what she means. She's funny, she's irreverent, she's deep, and

she's got the most awesome, amazing sense of style, Like
who the hell doesn't love Queen Charlotte? So I think
we started with that, and I think very early on
and she would remember Seanda probably remember better than me
because she's got a better memory than I do. Very
early on we talked about her doing the whole thing
because that was something that she'd actually never done before,

which is write something pretty much from start to finish herself.

Speaker 1 (04:12):
And yeah, which in a weird way.

Speaker 2 (04:16):
It was sort of this genuinely deep and intense immersion
in this world for a chunk of time while the
ideas started to form in her head. So stuff needs
to percolate, you know, with any writer, I think it's
having especially when you're taking on and creating a context,

which is an origin story for Bridgerton, but is also
has certain things which are rooted in historical fact. It's
a real tight rope, and the main thing was that
it was coherent as an origin story for the world
we know as Bridgerton. From my perspective as the lucky
one who gets to work with her, it was a

delight for me because we actually hadn't had the chance
to do something like that in a while because we
both are multitasking and I really love that fomenting process
is the best way I can put it. And I
always say like, look, I'm just here for whatever you need,
and I'm here for nothing if you don't want it,
but I'm always here if you do want it, because

I love producing, and to me, that is anything anybody
needs at any point, with the exception of driving a
really big truck, which I won't do because you don't
want to see me do that. I'm not a good idea,
but I anything that I can do to help articulate
a vision and then carry it through, that's the joy

of the job.

Speaker 1 (05:46):
I'm so glad you went there, because immediately I'm like,
what does that look and sound like? Being in the
trenches fermenting, Like what does that look and sound like?
I'm sure lots of people are wondering, you know, because
we see you all after it's all done and you know,
put together and talking about it, and you know, it.

Speaker 2 (06:10):
Is fascinating to hear how you work. Yeah, And the
funny thing always is there's always drama behind the drama.
An easy shoot does not necessarily make the best show
because sometimes when everybody's when there're no obstacles and it's sunshine,
lollipops and rainbows and everything's great, there's something about really

digging into the complexity of a process which I think
emerges to on the screen in a way. And that
is not saying to the audience out there that there
have not been movies and television shows that were just
amazingly great experiences, because they all are in different ways.
It's just different kinds of obstacles make you reach in

and find things you never would have found or come
up with before. And sometimes the obstacle can be financial,
sometimes it can be logistical. From Gray's Anatomy before the
launch of that show to now, the main thing is
that we love something and we want to watch something,
and we would knock on doors and hand people copies

of whatever this product is because we want people to
see it so badly. And then We'll never do the
same thing twice.

Speaker 1 (07:25):
That's hard.

Speaker 2 (07:28):
Well, the funny thing is it is, and it's not.
Because movie directors tend to have conversations and stories and
ideas and themes they come back to again and again
and again. It's not that those things ever change. It's
not that the internal changes. It's the platform for storytelling
or a tone, or a world or and I think
a lot of its world, A lot of it is

I just want to get into a different world because
I'm escaping from all this too, and I've been living
in that world a lot. I want to know in
this world. Yeah, yeah, And so it was cool about
this for me was it's a whole different perspective on Bridgerton.

Speaker 1 (08:02):
Something you just said makes me think about how we
think about representation in what we watch and listen to.

Speaker 2 (08:10):
One of the great things about having the opportunity to
work with Shonda is she is somebody who never stops
challenging herself. And I feel like I'm cut basically from
the same cloth. There's this part of me that just
wants to do the same thing again. You know, there's
always because it's like easy, and it's a path taken.
It's like lines that I've learned in a play. It's like,

and I don't sleep well with that. Life is really
short and there's all this stuff. What did I learn
from this? And how can I apply it to this?
And I think are absolutely right in terms of representation,
which is it's not good enough just to sit there
and say, well, goody two shoes, we got that. Wow,
this situation has changed, or this perception has changed. There's
so much more. There's so much more to be done.

There's another conversation. And every single time we go through
another transition, period of awareness and acknowledgment, it has to
reflect where we've been, but also where do you want
to go?

Speaker 1 (09:09):
Yeah? You know, it's so interesting. I see Sheryl Lee,
Ralph you know, win an award and it's like, yes,
I see you know the cast of Bridgerton and Queen Charlotte.
I'm like yeah, And then I think my cup is
full and I see the opening credits to Queen Charlotte
on Netflix. I have not seen them before that graphic

and it was emotional for me. I was like, wait
a minute, hold on, because I thought I was fulfilled
and that you know where we are right now? Would
kind of just kind of be where we are for
a few decades, you know, like we but those opening
credits did something else to me and I don't know

what it is, but wow, I don't know. I don't
know what it is. There's a great opening credit, aren't
they that?

Speaker 3 (10:01):

Speaker 1 (10:01):
We were so excited.

Speaker 2 (10:03):
Scott Collins, who is our post genius at shondaland we
all reacted the same way which this pitch sort of
came in. It was like, there's this amazing understated elegance,
but yet you can kind of fill in the blanks
as you watch it, and it's got this great it's
sort of telling you what's happening, but it's not telling

you what's happening. Look, so much of what the show
is about and also what you're describing, which is, well,
you're not describing exactly, but I'm pretty probably putting words
in your mouth. But is the whole concept of life
is about palace intrigue, right? I mean it's it's to
a large degree, it's what we do with every day
in different ways. And what's great about the opening credits
and the show is like, how do you ever learn

the rules?

Speaker 1 (10:47):
And who do you want to be? In that context.

Speaker 2 (10:49):
Yeah, because so much of Queen Charlotte for me, is
about having the agency to change the rules. You know,
nobody talks about Princess Augusta.

Speaker 1 (10:59):
I'm Princess Augusta, right.

Speaker 2 (11:02):
I mean, and yes, I think that there's something amazing
about the relationship between Agatha and Augusta. But it's looking
at the way a woman at this particular period of
time who's also protecting our child. It's the closest thing
to the crown she could get, and she is running things,
but she's running things in this incredibly shadow like way,

and she's constantly pivoting and moving and as opposed to
those you know, old dim dudes who are sitting behind
her are sort of like dusty and egg stained and
don't really know what they're doing. Like, she's sharp and
she's got her shit together, and she egg stained and
all sorry, and all she wants. All she wants is

a real freaking debate, you know. And Agatha comes in
and it's like there is a debate. I know, this
is getting very theoretical, And I apologize because I'm not
talking about the great actors yet or anything, because everybody's
really good and everyone knows it.

Speaker 1 (12:00):
Okay, well you brought up the actors. They're great. Yeah,
I'm bouncing up and down in my seat right now.

Speaker 2 (12:07):
Nobody can see me do it, but I'm doing it
because I'm freaking nerds.

Speaker 1 (12:10):
So that's what I do. Do you do you really
nerd out about casting? Don't really? Is that one of
your favorite parts of the process.

Speaker 2 (12:18):
I love casting. I love casting. I started as a
really bad actor, so I have a special place in
my heart for actors.

Speaker 1 (12:25):
And also I.

Speaker 2 (12:27):
Believe in a kind and conducive atmosphere for actors to
try to do their best work, which is something which
we have been complimented on as a company, which means a.

Speaker 1 (12:38):
Lot to me. But I just love casting. I mean
and I could.

Speaker 2 (12:42):
We could hardly wait to get our hands on this one.
So Kelly Valentine Henry, who did obviously Bridgerton and is
a genius and wonderful she found some of the most
incredible young talents.

Speaker 1 (12:53):
Everybody was really good.

Speaker 2 (12:54):
We saw a lot of really good people, but each
one of those three initial youngsters, and by the way,
same with young Brimsley and Reynolds, and you know Tom
and Alison Ankle who runs Creative for Shondaland and Shanda
and I like all agreed they were magical.

Speaker 1 (13:13):
Wow. All right, go refresh your coffee. We've got more
with Betsy Bears right after the break. Welcome back to
Queen Charlotte the Official podcast. We're talking with executive producer

Betsy Bears. Let's get back into it. So in this episode,
it's where we have the Danbury Ball and I'm wondering
if you could give us a little bit about two things,
the great experiment and what the goal is. And I
would love to talk about Danbury, Queen Charlotte and Violet

as women over fifty.

Speaker 2 (14:02):
First, I will speak to the unique situation of being
an older woman in society, and it's certainly one of
the things I do love about Bridgerton, but specifically I
love the way Shonda set the table to really allow
us to dig into both with the backstory of Agatha

and understanding Agatha as an older, independent, free woman and
the contrast with that and Violet, who hasn't explored the
power of the majesty of her age because she lost
a husband at a young age. I think there's a
part of her that died when her husband died. She

thinks which is why the whole kind of idea of
the garden blooming is so wonderful, and how Shonda came
up with that. I first read that and I laughed
until stuff came out of my nose. I mean, it's
the best, it's but it's it's the best because you're
watching a character who has supported and loved and worried
and conny for the better of her children, who's never

ever taken a moment to pay attention to herself. And
it's the first time in the history of the series.
I mean, all whatever, we've had twelve episodes of Bridgerton
and about to have, you know, another eight, but it's
not twelve.

Speaker 1 (15:26):
I can't do my math. Whatever the hell it is.

Speaker 2 (15:28):
Eighteen sixteen, sixteen, that's it.

Speaker 1 (15:31):
I knew it. This wa did and go into mathematics.

Speaker 2 (15:34):
But we've had all of these episodes in which we've
we've been digging into the issues of the heart and
the ton and the world. And God bless Shonda Man,
because Queen Charlotte is so much about how we process
who we are and what we still can be as

we get older. And what's so great about watching Violet
discuss her and realize that there might be a world
out there. I think is so encouraging and such a
loving gift to so many women who thought you had
to close the door, because it is still an issue
that we are ignored and we are invisible, and so

many women in so many walks of life right now
are no matter what the age as we know. I
think it speaks to also us understanding. At the end
of all the comedy and you know, sars and prayers
and the hysterical scenes with the kids, this amazing scene
where you realize that she gave up her children for

her husband, and both Brimsley and her children confront her
with that fact, and that even at a point that
Queen Charlotte has come to in this magnificence of her life,

she realizes she she would not do it any other way, probably,
but she gets a I don't I think because she
I think for me the end of the series, when
the amazing under the bad stuff is yeah, she's in
it to win it, baby, and.

Speaker 1 (17:23):
She didn't see.

Speaker 2 (17:24):
That she wasn't there for her kids because it was
all about the Kimon then all about the country, and
those are the sacrifices you make, you know, and part
of what power and responsibility.

Speaker 1 (17:36):
Is that power and responsibility, that part that's that for
me is what I love about seeing these three characters,
especially and and Charles Keers as Lord Ledger and Cyril
and Nuie as Herman Danbury. Just all that texture and backstory.

I mean, that's I mean that it's yeah. My favorite
moment was the Pair Brandy moment. But there's this. I
have a new favorite moment, the Pair Brandy moment.

Speaker 2 (18:13):
We have to just take a moment because the Pair
Brandy moment is so baller, I mean, because it's like,
let's just take all this is what we do in
this situation. You don't know this yet, this is what
we do. It's now get to it.

Speaker 1 (18:29):
Drink this Brandy, get to it, and get back to normal,
because I'm not putting up of this shit, right, I
need a Princess Augusta and I want to be someone's
Princess Augusta. Like for real, that moment is amazing.

Speaker 4 (18:41):
Right, you have been an admirable adversary thus far. Our
battles bring me satisfaction. So this will not do. You
are not allowed to come here, and so you may
not quit.

Speaker 2 (19:00):
Lady Dan Brees figured out a way in her elder years.
If do you want to call it that, I would
call it middle age, but I'm not supposed to anymore.

Speaker 3 (19:07):
I guess.

Speaker 2 (19:09):
She has figured out ways of enjoying the process of
doing what she wants and being the sable what she
wants and living her life. But there's something amazing about
her journey back in time that Queen Charlotte affords us
that helps contextualize it. And also this amazingly weird secret

she has from Violet. I mean, yeah, we've all had
weird stuff in our lives, and it's that incredible scene
where you don't know what's going to happen, and I
always start to get all sweaty because it's like this
is going to be so weird, and then Violet right,

just they both kind of go okay, got it moving on?

Speaker 1 (19:58):
Oh my goodness. So I feel like, in the way
a lot of what we see teaches us how to
resolve conflict. This show taught us how to be friends
in a weird way. That's beautiful. That's a beautiful thing. Yes,
I will take off the weird way part. That's just
me being that's beautiful thing that I think you're right,

I think, because it's so much about all these different friends.
I mean, you look at King George and Reynolds, who've
been friends since they were kids, and that Reynolds protects
him like a brother, and what you do, what do
you do when you know your friend is in need
and you can't you're not allowed to be his friend anymore.
You know, it's Charlotte and Danbury navigating this world and

how can you actually be friends but also make sure
that you survive in the world that you're in. And
it's the older Violin and Danbury sorting their stuff out
in this incredibly elegant and mature way. It's Old Brimsley
and Queen Charlotte. You know, it's so much of this

is about when you invest in the garden that is
a friendship, how do you make the flowers keep growing?
Because there go through periods where they don't. And there's
amazing moments where Lady Danbury young Lady Danbury, and the
moments where it's is she compromising her friend by using
her as a mouthpiece for the great experiment. Oh, she

bargains with Augusta. She's very careful about it, and she
does the right thing. But she has a responsibility to
all those people show up at her house and they say,
what's she going to do about this? They're going to
take our they're going to take our titles away. What
you're going to do?

Speaker 2 (21:44):
Like this is no good? And she figures out away
without compromising Queen Charlotte. But she figures out away, and
I think being pretty honest with Queen Charlotte, who's a
little not conscious of a lot of this stuff.

Speaker 1 (21:56):
Throughout the whole thing.

Speaker 2 (21:58):
So so I think it's interesting the way Danbury has
to drive the train, do a dance, but drive the
train because Charlotte's catching up to speed and Danburry's like,
you know, Charlotte's in the train behind going. I don't
understand what all the importance is and every single time right,
because she doesn't understand to roll in this from the beginning,

how could she. She didn't have the situation when she
was in Germany, there were none of these issues. She
showed up at this place and she's living alone in
a house with no husband, a weird dude who's following
her around all day long, and she's like twelve, right,
and you have this woman who's a little older than
she is, but has lived the life of three women.

She's had four hundred children, She's been with a man
that essentially was an arranged marriage, and there are two
different points of their lives, but they it's like two
different eras just collide.

Speaker 3 (22:57):

Speaker 2 (22:58):
What a lot of responsibility for Danbury and what an
incredible introduction to a consummate politician. Oh wow, right, yeah wow.

Speaker 1 (23:10):
I saw an old Ted talk that Arsaa Thomas, who
plays young Lady Danburry, did about five or six years ago,
and she ended it with saying strong women are made.
And I'm like, oh, man, Like, did she even know
she was going to play that role? No, of course
she didn't, But man, Danbury was made.

Speaker 2 (23:32):
She's made, and she's made. But at every step of
the way, she's conscious. Yeah, she's conscious. And it's like
I think with Charlotte. Charlotte's consciousness evolves in a different
kind of way, which is what's also great about watching
those two characters and as they become friends and as
they become allies. But it's an amazing moment where like

Queen Charlotte shows up at her house and goes, I
guess what I'm living here now? And she stands none
any implications of this, and somehow or another, Danbury has to
be responsive to that and responsive to her friend, but
also figure out a way to protect her friend what

she doesn't understand, but also protect herself.

Speaker 1 (24:18):
And that's really hard. Is there anything about the Danburry
Ball which you have known the Danburry Ball was going
to be a key role in explaining the Great Experiment
or knew that.

Speaker 2 (24:35):
I knew that it had to be because it's such
a huge plot point. But it's the first time Charlotte
starts to understand her position, you know, it's the first
time that when Danbury comes and explains, I mean, there
are two. One of the funniest is, of course, when
Danbury explains how to have sex. That's a different role.

Speaker 1 (24:53):
But and then later on Queen Charlotte had the nerve
to tell her children, I drew you pictures like girl,
and I'm like, guess who drew them first? Bit? Just
credit credit the author. She probably pulled out the old pictures, right, Yeah,
Brimsley grabbed those pictures exactly. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (25:13):
No, I think the Danbury Ball is this incredibly pivotal
moment because the only way that they'll be accepted in
society is if a miracle happens, and the miracle is
nobody can deny it, if the King and the Queen
show up right. And this is a question for you, actually,
how conscious.

Speaker 1 (25:34):
Do you think.

Speaker 2 (25:37):
Charlotte is when she asked George of how momentous this
thing is?

Speaker 1 (25:43):
Oh, I'm so glad you asked I. Originally, when I
the first couple times I watched it, I said, Okay,
Charlotte used her sexuality, she learned a little something something,
and she had some pillow talk. Then I started to
think to myself, they had a conversation, they together decided

and master planned that they would do this together. I
do think Charlotte at that point knew what it was
and that George young George was on board.

Speaker 2 (26:15):
I always look at Charlotte and go like, what level
of awareness does she have of the magnitude of it.

Speaker 1 (26:23):
It's the moment she holds her stomach in front of
the mirror for me, right before she goes to see George.
And I love those little quick five second shots that
you know, after seventeen times watching it, you're like, oh,
that is like five hours worth of context right there.
You know she's thinking, no, longer just thinking of herself.

She's thinking of the legacy. And that's why I really
love Young Charlotte too, because she's just seventeen, and that
moment in the garden when she sees young George decompensating,
like she makes a choice in that moment, I think
as privileged and maybe a little ignorant to her privilege
that she is. She was really cognizant of what the
assignment was. That's why she's cognizant with the assignment is.

But for me, what's interesting is she doesn't know what
it means to be a leader and what that implies.
And for me, what that is is the oranges because
she has somebody.

Speaker 2 (27:19):
Oh, she says, I'm going to get an orange, and
then a man comes over and gets the orange. You know,
he gets the orange, gives her the orange, and she's like, okay,
and then she says, from now on, I want to
pick my own oranges, and everybody looks a bit of
gas and Brimsy sort of says okay. And then the
next time she's there, she's like, where did everybody go?
It's like, will you let them go, ma'am. It's each

of those moments which are little building blocks that you
and that to me was and I said, I think
when I first read it, I just said, this is
the most incredibly beautiful example of the effect one person
has on thousands of people. So and that each step

of the way, I feel like there's this little there's
this little you know, it's like an aperture. And for her,
the aperture just keeps opening, and it keeps opening, it
keeps opening. In the middle of this, it's an aperture
about England and society and this woman who got dumped
in a place that she didn't know, and she doesn't know,

and she doesn't understand the food, and everybody dresses terribly
in the whole nine yards and there's that aperture. And
then in the middle of it is George, who she
thinks is one thing and turns out to be another.
But it doesn't matter, because as the aperture opens, she
realizes this is who she is. It's literally, I would

rather have half a man and half a king.

Speaker 5 (28:52):
If what we have is half, then we shall make
it the very best half. I love you, isn't it.
I am your queen, and as long as I am so,
I shall never leave your side. You are king, you
will be king, your children will rule together, we all hold.

Speaker 2 (29:13):
I think she evolves so incredibly to that place, and
then as a woman who literally goes in and refuses
to let him torture himself anymore, which she's doing because
he loves her and he doesn't want her to have
to suffer. She's and she gets her agency, she gets
her power. A Guesta looks at her in episode six,

I think, and says and pretty much goes, it's all
yours now.

Speaker 1 (29:41):
Oh man, yeah, And I'm like, whoa, this show is
so good, right, That's what I mean.

Speaker 2 (29:48):
It's like it's like it's you're just peeling the onion.
You keep killing the onion. And I didn't know there
was another onion in the onion.

Speaker 1 (29:55):

Speaker 2 (29:55):
But that's the thing, you know, And not to state
the obvious, but that's the thing about Shonda, and Shonda's
right in the way Shonda's brain works, and how she
never loses sight of the fact that her characters and
the worlds in which she immerses us are always current
and relevant. It doesn't matter what the time period is,

it doesn't matter what the context is. Be at a hospital,
be at Washington, be at Georgian, England. We're sitting and
having this conversation because all of those things actively speak
to us, and they're wearing beautiful costumes designed by the
incredibly talented Linn Pallow, and they're being directed beautifully by
Tom Verica. But the reason we're having the conversations because

all of these things are still relevant right now, and
you could change the time period and you could be
having exactly the same conversations about all of it because
great experiment. Sure shit isn't over, she says, as a
gigantic understatement. And you know, what is your responsibility and

duty as a leader versus your responsibility and duty as
a mother or a wife, or a husband, or devout
friend like Grimsley or devout friendly Brimsley and a man
who gave up his entire personal life because of his
love and duty for a queen.

Speaker 1 (31:21):
If you watch Queen Charlotte, if you watch it, you
will leave with with a life lesson or two.

Speaker 2 (31:29):
And I'll tell you something. And if you watch it
again you'll find even more because it's a I think
the funny thing about watching things and binging is it's
great because what you absorb is the top layer and deep,
deep people. Smarter people than I probably get multiple layers.
But keep if you keep going back and you keep

watching it, and it can be like you said, it
can be a moment, it can be episodes, it can
be you see different things. And like I said, you said,
what is the thing that I love most about my
job or what am I good at? I love the
fact that I can see so many points of view
and that It's one of the reasons I had to
stop being an actor because a director pulled me aside

and said, you're not advocating for your character, and I said,
but there's so many characters and they all have really
good points, which is why I was a really shitty actor.
But it makes me a really good producer because and
a good viewer because there's something to everyone's point of
view in this and that allows you to look at

the world to me with a sense of excitement and
some generosity and curiosity and also impatience, which is.

Speaker 1 (32:42):
I think where we should be. You are amazing. We
can't thank you enough for your time. Oh no, thank
you so much.

Speaker 2 (32:48):
Thank you so much for letting me take a trip
to one of my favorite places in the world.

Speaker 1 (32:53):
That's the cue, but don't go too far. We've got
Jack Murphy, the choreographer, coming up right after this. All right, everyone,
to close out this episode, we are honored to have
a true maestro of movement and artistry joining us, Jack Murphy,

choreographer of Queen Charlotte, a Bridgerton story. Welcome, Welcome, Welcome, well, Hello.
I've been trying to withhold all of my excitement and
joy of getting to spend some time with you so
that I can capture it for the recording. But I'm
really really happy to see you and to just hear
what you've been up to and just laugh with you.

Speaker 3 (33:39):
So how have you been, Gabrielle. It's so kind of you,
because do you know I had never done a podcast
until you invited me to do one with you for
Bridgeton season one.

Speaker 6 (33:52):
And it was an event for me.

Speaker 1 (33:54):
Are you experiencing any full circle moments this time around
or in the years since starting Bridgerton while working on
Queen Charlotte, Because Queen Charlotte is so much about that
looking back and looking forward and connecting dots in time.

Speaker 3 (34:12):
Comes out so much in the process now because of
Bridgeton and the process of Bridgeton, and the process of
Bridgeton and Time being in the early nineteenth century, but
using a style from the twentieth and twenty first century
to fuse the dancing, to give it a modernity and
interesting that full circle, however you interpret that, I use

the same kind of idea by with Queen Charlotte, using
the experience of playing with time. I went back to Baroque,
but then jumped forward to ballet, so obviously using lots
of fusion again as that's, as you know, one of
my favorite words. Yes, yes, but in terms of you

know this full circles like, it's just it's no project.
I have no experience of anything like Bridgeton and now
Queen Charlotte, so everything is of a time distortion.

Speaker 1 (35:15):
I'm so curious about how you incorporated the costume and
the flow of all those silhouettes in your choreography, and
like how you take that into your process as a creator.

Speaker 3 (35:29):
I'm very particular because I think if you were a costume,
you're relying on it to do the work for you.
You must become one with the costume, and their foot
becomes your clothes because they were their clothes, they weren't
their costumes. Yes, of course deeply. You know fine, you
know materials, but so I know what it is to
live and to be and to move in those in

the cut. You know the mature of those gowns and
those fabrics. So the process obviously was dramas called training
with Jane and with Diana, taking that onto the dance floor,
with Diana wearing it and knowing that it had to
be part of me. So but particularly on Queen Charlotte,

there was an extraordinary process because actually I was invited
by the costume team to go and teach them a
dance that the actors would do, so they would get
a sense of what the actors were required.

Speaker 6 (36:30):
And this is the.

Speaker 3 (36:30):
First time ever, ever thirty five years, well five years,
I was an actor thirty years and I had the
most glorious afternoon teaching the coustume department of Queen Charlotte
a country dance unbeknownst to them that would appear in

Queen Charlotte because I had just that week choreographed it.
And it's a dance that takes place at the ball
Royal Highness Princess Augusta.

Speaker 4 (37:10):
Lord Denbury, Lady Denby, I am on your own the
honor is ours.

Speaker 3 (37:17):
The wonderful Danbury Ball, the conception of the Danbury Ball, right,
so Lynn shared the designs of obviously the most extraordinary interest.

Speaker 6 (37:35):
For the marriage.

Speaker 3 (37:36):
For the wedding, I turned blue. So yeah, it was.
It was challenging, it was frightening, it was illuminating. It
was completely and utterly by the end of it, absolutely

flying as one. And by the end I was choreographing
dances with trains that would normally have me getting on
an airline, you know, going somewhere because the extraordinary. But
then the team and I we would talk regularly and
then we were on set for the We're on set
for the Danburrie, We're talking about the Kings Ball. So

there was a communication and a dialogue and a narrative
that was so healthy and just bread confidence great, right.

Speaker 1 (38:28):
It seems so it was non stop collaboration on because yeah,
those dresses, those gowns are huge, those suits are so stately,
so beautiful. Fact it also looks heavier for the like, oh,
for the scenes when they're all younger.

Speaker 3 (38:48):
So contrary to pop belief, I have never worn one
of those dresses. I've certainly worn the coats, but you know,
but maybe I have to try one day just to
kind of like have a little more empathy with my
fabulous actresses. So my process, as you know, starts with research,

and its research starts with the script, and obviously it
tells me and so I, you know, I start looking
at my pictures, myness, looking at the shapes in my pictures.
Here we have and I know it's a court ball
because of the finesse, and I can see that they're
on the rise. So I can see they have taken

a pliece soir, and they're on the equilibrium. So the movement,
even though it's just a picture, is telling me what
pretty much what dancing. The gentleman has his left arm
raised and the lady with a very very lovely paul
brow on the left arm is going underneath his left arm,
and that shows me and that tells me it's an alemance.

That tells me it's a German dance. And this picture
was instrumental in me choosing the very first dance. Of course,
you can I with what Shonda had written. So that's
that's where it starts.

Speaker 1 (40:05):
How fitting that the clues hint that it's a German dance,
and that was your inspiration for the wedding dance.

Speaker 3 (40:12):
So I chose a dance that would suggest that it
had been taught in Europe, in northern Europe, and Tom
liked that idea, and then I chose a dance that
I could. I really felt it should be ceremonial, and
I really felt it should be an act of duty.

Speaker 6 (40:31):
And because it was taking place in England.

Speaker 3 (40:34):
You know, we do love to put on a show
in this country, don't we with our royalty, I felt
that it should be light. I didn't feel it should
be romantic because of the nature of it being them
only knowing each other seven at six seven hours, and
it should be once that started. And I've got that
this is very I know this is very bizarre. But

I will tell you that many years ago, when the
Queen Mother died, my mother and I we went to
see her life in state at the Palace of Westminster,
and I can remember descending the stairs and seeing her
coffin and seeing the four guards standing at the four
corners of the coffin. And I have to say, when

I was speaking of this, if he realize I have
four couples and have them in the middle, so you know,
in terms of imagination.

Speaker 6 (41:27):
Never rule it out as well. I'll say, where there's
is on.

Speaker 3 (41:32):
It is on it. And I just thought, oh, you know,
because no, no, go with me, keep getting say with me,
we stay with me, stay with me. I just thought, ah, yeah,
because actually, you know, we talk about we talk about
Brock being the splendid century from the mid seventeenth to

the late eighteenth century. But they say the death of
Brock is is with the death of Bark. But anyway,
we know there was dancing a lot of nuts in
the court of George and third, that's for sure, definitely,
So I love this idea that it was very heightened
and the people with four couples either side of them.

Speaker 6 (42:10):
It was nothing like Bridgeton.

Speaker 3 (42:12):
And here's the kernel of all the dancing in Queen Charlotte.
The dances in Bridgeton, we dance to have pleasure. In
Queen Charlotte, I'm afraid, we go competitive and we dance
to give pleasure. And we are professional dancers. So that
then allowed me to kind of say, right, those four

couples either side of Charlotte and George should be very good,
very very good, indeed, and they should look professional. So
that's where I drew the parallel from the standing protecting,
so they're not just dancing, but they're protecting the duel

of the crown.

Speaker 1 (42:58):
I think that really just goes to though, how much
thought is in every single detail. So there's a moment
at the end of the Danbury Ball where he is
bowing to his queen, and it's the deepest, most reverend

most I know. I know it is a moment. It
is such an and it just happens like awfu. It's
not like front and center the way it's framed. It's
like off in its own little moment. It's just such

a I don't have the words for it right now.
It's a beautiful moment. But tell me about that.

Speaker 7 (43:50):
Was that or I love how people think that was
anything to do with it, because it destroyed me on
the day the mother, you know, I was gone.

Speaker 3 (44:08):
I was I was completely completely because that that what
you know, and as you say the bell the reverence,
he knows he's found his soul mate. So but I
think in that very moment to quote you know, you know,

to love another person is to see the face of God,
and you know it's a it's a very whatever your
proclivities are okay for him, and he is a man
of God. It's a godly moment. It's it's a very
very spiritual, it's a very human, it's a very powerful

I mean, it is the greatest, the grandest emotion, and
it's and he's conscious of it, and he can be
very expressive about it privately. And we because of the
brilliant filming of Tom, Jeff Jurr and Leo amazing Lea,
we get to share it. But it's so the integrity

of it and the realization of it, and the placement
of it the artist that is Corey Milchrist, That's what
That's what whacks you.

Speaker 1 (45:23):
You know, it's so incredible. You know, there's also Tom
was talking also about how you help the dancers understand
what's that stake when it comes to the great experiment.
Can you talk a little bit about how you did that.

Speaker 3 (45:38):
Yeah, it's simple because I'm gay, and I've been in
a room where I couldn't dance with who I wanted
to dance with, and that people would rather I wasn't
even in the room. So again I'm not going to say.
You know, it's like I for years and years years
I was you know, I was in my thirties before
I came out, but I remember I was never able
to dance with the person I wanted, you know, to

dance with publicly. And also I can remember being in
a room and I would be dancing and people didn't
really want me in the room because they knew I
was so I mean, I've experienced homophobia on a great scale.

Speaker 1 (46:15):
Brimsley. That moment where Hugh Sacks is dancing by himself, No.

Speaker 6 (46:21):
No, you did it to us?

Speaker 1 (46:25):
Why did you do that to us? You and Shonda
Rhymes have messed with our emotions? What in the Q
Sacks is just looking off into the distance after he's
doing I don't know what is that dance he's doing,
and tell me about why you chose it? And just
working with him in that solo moment, we get to
see Brimsley, We get to spotlight Brimsley.

Speaker 3 (46:47):
Well, first you have to first and foremo, I'm a
huge fan of his hacks from Benador for his parents.

Speaker 6 (46:56):
So when they're right working with.

Speaker 3 (46:58):
You thinking untaken and untaken out, he's like love loving that.
You know that this man has entertained me over the
years greatly. And not only that, he is a brilliant
classical actor, a wonderful, wonderful classical actor. I mean, of course,
of course, of course, that moment, that moment when the
court are dancing on the beautiful floor and it's fabulously lit,

and there we go again, the division the two men
dancing at the top of the hill, filmed brilliantly by
Jeff jer And you know, and lovely Leo, and so
obviously it's memory. He's thinking of the memory of when
he danced with Reynolds himself, you know, and what Hugh
did as part of his process. He came and watched

me teach both the young lads, Sam and Freddy.

Speaker 6 (47:52):
He watched me. He didn't say anything.

Speaker 3 (47:53):
He just sat and watched, sat and watched, and he
wanted to know their exact choreography so he could applicate
so that it was very organic. So and I would dance,
and then I would dance with Hugh, and then I
would come away. I would I would come away from
the hold. And so when he he filmed that at
ten to four in the morning and when we were

wrapping at four, so he did, you know, he did
a marvelous job. But that was very painful. That was very,
very painful for me to film because I was at
the top of the hill with them and watching, of course,
watching everyone dance beautifully down below, and of course it's
just the memory of it.

Speaker 6 (48:32):
It's just too raw for me, you know.

Speaker 3 (48:34):
It's kind of like, yeah, there I am back in
that club with the windows blacked out.

Speaker 6 (48:38):
You know, it's like, we can't we.

Speaker 1 (48:40):
Can't join, we can't join circle.

Speaker 6 (48:43):
It's full circle.

Speaker 1 (48:45):
The Danbury Ball is outstanding, I gotta tell you, bravo.
And then there's this moment where Charles Keir walks up
to Arsama Thomas to take her hand and go on
to the dance floor. It's it's it's yeah, all of
these is.

Speaker 3 (49:02):
On stage before in Sheffield on Shakespeare we did The
Winter's Tale together, so he understands my language, and so
obviously that's one of the nuanced moments of like I'd say, no, no, no, don't.

Speaker 6 (49:12):
You're not going to dance with her.

Speaker 3 (49:13):
You're going to request, You're going to ask, you're going
to ask for the pleasure, and you're going to protect
and you So we look at the action and of
course he's a brilliant, brilliant you know, Award nominated actor,
and so he's you know, he's very very interested in
finding the very fine balance in the scene. And yeah,

that's again when you work with actors at that caliber,
that's what they want to do. They don't they don't
want to do it as a gig. They want to
work on their craft.

Speaker 1 (49:45):
As you say, right, I'm here, I don't have a
call time. Why not spend the day watching the younger
version of me do their things so that I can
have a magnificent performance. It's just outstanding.

Speaker 6 (49:58):
That was huge idea.

Speaker 1 (49:59):
Wow. You mentioned before that you look for clues in
Shonda's writing, especially the unspoken parts of the relationship between
Charlotte and Brimsley. Can you tell us more about how
your affinity for those characters fuels your decision making in
the series.

Speaker 3 (50:16):
Well, those two characters, in particular Brimsley, h he chooses duty,
the reason he's starting on his own. He choses queen.

Speaker 1 (50:26):
Mm hmm.

Speaker 3 (50:27):
The purpose in life was to serve his queen and
that the stakes of that were greater than the stakes
of him and Reynolds. So he didn't want to be
in a drama, which is that as you state some
four he wanted to serve the queen and his role

he felt in life was five paces behind.

Speaker 1 (50:53):
Seven states of energy. Is this is something that you
practice and coach answers and actors on, performers on.

Speaker 3 (51:03):
Yeah, so seven states of energy. Energy is really focused
versure focus. So one is slow, two is over easy,
three is economic, four is dramatic, five is operatic, six
is heroic, and seven is catatonic. Wow.

Speaker 6 (51:18):
It's all to do with.

Speaker 3 (51:19):
Focus, and it's to do with spheres as well, and
circles and yeah, and energy in relation to changing focus
and spheres. So if I if i'm if I'm your
waiter in a restaurant and I fill your glass and
I leave and you don't even know I've done it,
then I've probably been a very good servant.

Speaker 6 (51:42):
So that's economic. It's known as economic.

Speaker 3 (51:45):
If I come to your table and I say, sorry,
I hope to mindself, but I really love your hair,
I'm now engaging. I'm now it's about you and me.
It's not just about you. So my focus economic is
on you. If I start, then I come with you,
it's now dramatic. If I was to then turn to
the next table and say, don't you think her. Really,

I've just made it. I've just made it operatic. So
I've changed the focus.

Speaker 6 (52:13):
So if you like, if you.

Speaker 3 (52:14):
Think about the roll of her house, it becomes much wider.
So and of course then you just have to think
of heroic and we see we see plenty of heroic
behavior in Queen Charlotte. Plenty. Bye Queen Charlotte.

Speaker 6 (52:36):
Yes, she's a heroin come on.

Speaker 1 (52:39):
She stands by him, she sure does.

Speaker 3 (52:42):
And it's not a duty to a position of power.
You know, she's a heroine because she loves him. It's
about him.

Speaker 1 (52:51):
Jack Murphy, Hello, thank you again, No, thank you. This
was so wonderful. This was so fantastic, sick. Thank you
so much for your time and for all of the
beautiful all of your research. There's so much. I'm also
a fan of post It's we are, we are one

of the We're cut from the same cloth.

Speaker 3 (53:14):
It's okay, dope, forget that tea and that dance in London.

Speaker 6 (53:18):
Make it happy.

Speaker 1 (53:18):
I will, I will, I will. Special thanks again to
executive producer Betsy Beers for taking the time to leave
some gems with us, and another thank you to choreographer
Jack Murphy for treating us to an A Lamande through
episode three of Queen Charlotte and Bridgeton story. On our

next episode, we're having some pair Brandy with Princess Augusta herself. Well,
we're we're talking about that scene and more with the
revered actress Michelle Fairley and the charming Corey and Millcreaest
drops in for a heart to heart about King George.

Speaker 8 (53:58):
George comes in. He's announced, and he comes in and
he says, Lord and Lady Danbury, thank you for having me.
It's not you know, it's wonderful to be here. It's
thank you for having me. I'm the King, and I'm
thanking you for welcoming me into your home that technically
I own, but it's immediately going. I'm paying reverence.

Speaker 1 (54:18):
You're in charge, Queen Charlotte. The official podcast is executive
produced by Sandy Bailey, Lauren Homan, alex Alja Tyler Klang
and me Gabrielle Collins. Our producer and editor is Tarry Harrison.
Subscribe to the podcast anywhere you get your favorite shows.
Get the book I'm a Crispy Turned the Page, Smell

the Binding kind of Queen. But you can download it
and you can find Queen Charlotte, a Bridgeton story on Netflix.
We'll see you next week. Queen Charlotte. The Official Podcast
is a production of Shondaland Audio in partnership with iHeart Radio.
For more podcasts, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or

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